2014 will see the launch of the Ford F-150. Fast-forward two years and another famous rugged vehicle will begin hitting the streets with an aluminum body. It’s time to welcome the Jeep Wrangler to the aluminum family. From AutoNews:
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler will feature an aluminum body to save weight, and will remain a body-on-frame vehicle, sources say.
Because Chrysler won’t make the switch to unibody construction, Wrangler assembly will probably stay in Toledo. And that means the company will likely produce more Wranglers for U.S. dealers and for export.
The Wrangler tale started in early October in Paris when Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, was asked about two of his previous promises — never to build Wranglers outside Toledo and no more brick-and-mortar factories in North America.
In his response, Marchionne chose his words carefully. He said that the next Wrangler needed to lose weight and that doing so with aluminum might mean the Wrangler had to move elsewhere because of excessive costs to re-equip the Toledo plant for aluminum assembly.
He pointed out that Chrysler had excess capacity in at least two of its existing plants. But the two plants he named currently build only unibody vehicles, which can’t be built on the same line as body-on-frame vehicles.
As Jeeps are built and configured differently than trucks, we’ll surely be getting more details in the next year about how aluminum is incorporated into both the design and manufacturing of the vehicle. Stay tuned.